Remember when the world was a better place? I don’t, but I wasn’t alive during the 1950s. I’ve heard that back then things were great! Women finally won the right to wear pants. There was a soda shop on every corner. The only threat to society was bongo-wielding beatnik Maynard G. Krebs from the Dobie Gillis show. Well, him and communists. You know, because that whole Cold War thing was going on. The Soviet Union and Cuba just would not get off of America’s ass. But since no one ever dropped the bomb, things were pretty peachy keen.
In fact, things were so peachy keen in the 1950s that UC Davis served as a symbol for good old fashioned community spirit. According to Davis Wiki, the school started a tradition called “Hi Aggie Spirit.” Here’s how it worked: If you were on campus and you encountered someone you didn’t know, you were encouraged to say “Hi, Aggie!” Your new “Aggie” friend would respond by saying “Hi, Aggie!” back to you.
Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, “Hi Aggie Spirit” flourished. Everything was great – till Nam, of course.
Now we’re in the apathetic 2000s and there is no more “Hi Aggie Spirit.” Not only that, but Castro’s still alive (unless he happened to die sometime this morning but I didn’t know about it since I wrote this column yesterday). Anyway, we can’t let the commies win. Let’s bring back “Hi Aggie Spirit.”
I don’t know how difficult this would be to enforce. Although lots of random people on campus start talking to me out of the middle of nowhere, these people don’t have “Hi Aggie Spirit.” They’re not talking to me to be friendly. They strike up random conversations with strangers because they want one of three things:
My money: A whole variety of people want to take money I don’t have away from me. The CalPIRG people are the most persistent. Hey CalPIRG guy, when I tell you that I don’t have $5, I don’t have $5. Even if you follow me across the entire length of the Quad, a five dollar bill isn’t going to magically appear in my wallet, believe it or not. Seriously, I’m not going to give you $5. Really, I don’t have any money on me. Yes, REALLY.
My soul: Apparently a bunch of random religious people happen to think that my soul is up for grabs. Sorry religious people looking for some newbies, but inviting me to a religious ice cream social isn’t going to lead to my conversion. Thanks for offering free ice cream though.
More of my money: Guess what? Some people can’t take a hint. No, I haven’t pledged CalPIRG yet. You just talked to me an hour ago, remember? I was the one who told you that I don’t have$5. I still don’t have $5. Okay, actually I lied earlier. I have $5, but it’s not my $5 to give. I need it to buy my Coho sandwich. Although lower textbook prices in the future sound pretty nice, eating a delicious Coho sandwich with pesto mayo on it right now sounds even better.
What do you say, kids? Don’t you think it’s time to venture forth and bring some good old fashioned friendliness back to UC Davis? Try saying “Hi, Aggie” to someone you don’t know. Sure, people will almost certainly give you weird looks and start walking in the other direction, but at least you’re bringing friendliness and community into the 21st century. If you say “Hi, Aggie” enough, pretty soon you’ll be known as “that weirdo-freak who says ‘Hi, Aggie!’ to random people on campus.” And then people will start avoiding you. People these days just aren’t friendly.
If you’re not ready to say “Hi, Aggie” to someone in person, RACHEL SKYTT recommends practicing through e-mail. Send some “Hi Aggie Spirit” to firstname.lastname@example.org.